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ReDem protesters head to Criminal Court to demand release of four core Ratsadon members

Anti-establishment ReDem (Restart Democracy) demonstrators marched from Lat Phrao intersection to the Criminal Court on Ratchadapisek Road at about 5pm, to demand the release of four core Ratsadon members.

They carried with them bags of garbage, which they threatened to dump in front of the court in a symbolic protest.

Parit Chiwarak, Anon Nampa, Somyos Prueksakasemsook and Patiwat Saraiyaem are being held on remand after both the Criminal and Appeals courts rejected repeated bail requests, on the grounds that they are repeat offenders.

Barbed-wire fencing was erected around the court, as about 400 anti-riot police were deployed on the Ratchadapisek Road to prevent protesters from getting close to the building.  Fine-mesh netting was also used to cover the front of the court building to prevent garbage being hurled into the court compound by protesters.

A water cannon and a truck equipped with loudspeakers were also on standby in the court’s compound.

Pol Maj-Gen Piya Tavichai, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, told the media this evening that police will deal leniently with the ReDem protesters, but will scale up their response in line with the severity of the protest.

He stressed the need to enforce the emergency decree and the disease control law strictly, warning that unauthorized entry into the court’s compound will risk contempt of court charges.

Another group of protesters, calling themselves the red-shirt group, planned to march to protest against Palang Pracharat MP Sira Jenjakha at his house, just opposite the government complex on Chaeng Wattana road in Nonthaburi province, but Sira warned that he could not guarantee the safety of the protesters if any tried to enter his compound.

A separate group, of mainly active and former vocational students, rallied in front of Central World shopping mall in the Ratchaprasong area, reportedly to protect the monarchy. They dispersed at 4.30pm.

At about 6.30pm, Piyarat Chongthep, alias Toto, chief WeVo guard, and three fellow guards, were detained by police in the car park of the Major Ratchayothin shopping mall.

ReDem protesters subsequently attacked a prison truck at Ratchayothin intersection and managed to free 14 protesters arrested earlier by the police. One police officer on the truck was attacked and suffered head injuries. The front and side windows of the truck were smashed and its front was splashed with paint.

A lawyer from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) told the media at about 8pm that the 14 WeVo guards were on the prison truck after they had been arrested in front of Ratchabhat Chankasem University and their whereabouts is currently unknown, though the police had seized their ID cards and will be able to track them down later.

The protest in front of the Criminal Court ended at about 9pm as protesters began to disperse, while the protest in front of the government complex ended since 7:30pm.

 

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

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